Bitter sugar

casei gerola.jpg
cultivation at Casei Gerola

I'm publishing part of a letter from Laura, chosen from lots that I received about the closure of the historical sugar factory of Casei Gerola near Pavia.
Another disaster resulting from European policy giving incentives to transport as opposed to helping local production.
Factories are being closed without giving prior notice to the local people, in this case the inhabitants of the Province of Pavia.
Without asking for the consent and proposing alternative solutions.
Here there are thousands of families without work and the reasons are technical, bureaucratic, correct, Europe-oriented, but above all they are incomprehensible. The Val di Susa has taught us that we can’t take decisions without involving people, without listening to them.
Last year, this Blog made a small contribution to the campaign for the brewery (great beer!) at Pedaveno and it did not close.
Let’s see what we can do for the sugar factory of Casei Gerola, one of the best in the country.
Write to me at and  send me information.
In the next few days I’ll go and visit Casei Gerola.


My name is Laura. I’m 20 years old and I live in Voghera (province of Pavia). I’d like to ask you if you could take an interest in the closure of the sugar factories in Italy and in particular I would like to point out the absurdity of the entrepreneurial logic. In my zone there’s (or in fact there was) the sugar factory at Casei Gerola. You must have heard about it recently because the farmers and the employees blocked the Milano-Genova motorway for about 30 hours. It’s one of the most productive sugar factories in Italy, the most technologically advanced and it supplies important multinationals, as well as pharmaceutical companies requiring high quality sugar. It appears to have everything needed to stay open and yet no. After yet another big story from the Minister Alemanno, it’s closing down. The European Union gives 730 Euro for every ton of sugar not produced, so that it’s economic to close a factory with good productivity and keep others open even though they are in grave difficulty and will then close the following year!!

There are 103 employees, cooperatives that collaborate, 192 seasonal employees (I’m one of these and at least 100 are young people in the age range 18 to 24 who work the season so that they can pay for the university without having to ask their families for help), 5000 farmers, encouraged by the company to invest and who now find that they have to pay for machinery up to a value of 1,000,000,000 old lire. They bought this on credit and the debt should have gone down each time they delivered beetroot for processing. It’s the only processing plant for beetroot in Piedmont and Lombardy and thus by closing down it will see the collapse of a whole geographic area! Do you think this is fair? I don’t think so. Is this how the Government is thinking of creating new jobs? Firing people, laying off and removing prospects from the young? How can a young person think of carrying on the work of their parents cultivating the land if their prospects are like this?

Thank you for your attention.”
Laura B.

P.S. The cities of the tour that used to appear on the right hand bar have now been substituted by links to the Meet Up cities.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 02:22 AM in | Comments (5)
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The pharmaceutical companies every year increase sales volumes who it supervises? WBR LeoP

Posted by: Leo | January 20, 2007 02:22 AM

sell us factory
We shall Buy the sugar refinery , for conversion of the sugar beet.
The Supply of the plant on Ukraine.

Posted by: Vyacheslav | November 4, 2006 07:15 PM

The sugar in Europe, cost 3 times more than in the other countries in the world. Why? Because for years, Europe was not able to regulate this problem. Like France is receiving lots of monney not to produce this or that (You understand now why french people are against Tony Blair when he recommands to reduce subsidies?)
For the sugar it's the same. We produce too much and the prices are more expensive than everywhere because Europe, till now, use to give money for that.
A similar example is Alitalia that is alive only because the government is pumping money inside everytime there is a strike. We now everybody that in Alitalia there is plenty of "recommended" people sent there by politicians. That is the reason why the Alitalia company is still alive despite the prices are the double or triple more expensive and the service, if we take in consideration all the strikes, is worser than in other companies. My grand mother used to say to me that if I want to catch a bird, I had to put some salt on their tail. I start to think that she meant sugar,not salt:-) It is a pity for the workers but when the customs officies has been closed at the frontiers, nobody was against this.
This is Europe.

Posted by: sommarti Jaio | March 1, 2006 07:04 PM

The LORD has commanded you???
It's a Joke, isn't it?
Anyway, the growing ageing population is a very big problem in Europa. Eurostat says that in 2004 there was one elderly inactive person for every four persons of working age, in 2050 there would be about one inactive person for every two of working age! Maybe Beppe will dedicate a post to this topic.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | March 1, 2006 04:54 PM

The Lord has commanded me to tell you that, sugar in Italy has been disbanded. Besides, Italy won't be able to compete against sugar cane production in the tropics and global south once that takes hole anyway. If I were you, I would worry more about how your younger generations are going to support the growing ageing population in Italy. Your average age is very high when compared to the rest of the world. How will young Italians support the retired ones?

Posted by: elohimus | March 1, 2006 04:28 PM

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